Dr. Joanna Cates, clinical psychologist, writes for Vetsnet:
“It’s sadly not uncommon for veterinary staff to be on the receiving end of some pretty difficult behaviour from their clients – and I’m not talking about those of the animal variety. I mean the human ones! Rude, grumpy, ungrateful – perhaps even aggressive. From time to time all vets know what it’s like to have to deal with clients whose social skills are less than ideal. Continue reading
Why do they not listen? Or worse, why do they appear to listen and then do the complete opposite of what was agreed in the consult? Is it us or them? Our communication, or their hearing??
DEALING WITH DIFFICULT CLIENTS – read this great blog by clinical psychologist Dr. Joanna Cates, with some practical tips for disarming and working with awkward owners.
PATERNALISM VS PARTNERSHIP – recent work suggests the typical paternalistic way of communicating, which the professional-client relationship lends itself to, does not foster a sense of empathy or teamwork.
We need to MOTIVATE clients by the way we speak to them. Here’s an excerpt from a recent paper from the farm animal dept. at Bristol University:
“future communication training may need to incorporate methodologies that foster a mutualistic approach as the backbone of practice rather than a useful aid. For example, one such evidence-based methodology widely adopted in the medical and psychological sciences is Motivational Interviewing (MI). MI practice is not just defined by a set of verbal skills cultivating empathy, collaboration and support of patient autonomy, but by an underpinning philosophy of compassion, acceptance, partnership and evoking (eliciting client ideas, rather than imposing) that act as a mindset to guide practice.”
The VetFutures project is also looking into communication and how to develop this area: “by working in partnership with clients, vets are better positioned to convince them of the value of preventive services”.
Client Communication – Our ability to do the job we trained for depends entirely on our clients, yet we’re taught precious little on how best to engage with them. Click HERE for resources on improving your client skills… and consequently your ability to vet effectively.